New York’s menagerie of mascots: Elephants, Thunder Chickens, medieval tales and reformed hamburgers

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

New York City claims to be the king of American cities, with more people, pizzazz and headaches than any other American metropolis. Who would have guessed that the Empire State could make a similar claim about mascots. And to think that New York's best isn't the Thunder Chickens!

The Somers Tuskers are tops in New York, ahead of stiff competition — Facebook
The Somers Tuskers are tops in New York, ahead of stiff competition — Facebook

While Prep Rally could never countenance voting for anything besides the Thunder Chickens when Thunder Chickens are available, New York does have a greater wealth of fantastic mascots than perhaps any other state. In the end, a tie to both history and a unique slant on a traditional animal was enough to earn Somers (N.Y.) High the honor of the state's best nickname.

As reported by USA Today, the Somers Tuskers are a blend of the town's long history with the circus and elephants themselves. Hachaliah Bailey, who is considered the "father of the American circus," lived in Somers and hosted his famous Elephant Hotel in the town.

He worked alongside legendary circus provocateur P.T. Barnum, with Bailey bringing just the second elephant in America's history to Somers.


That's a good justification for calling a team the Tuskers, not to mention considering it one of the best mascots in America. As the students at Somers say, Fear the Stampede.

Other Great New York Mascots of Note:

Oh, those Thunder Chickens. The school which boasts what may be America's most off-the-wall mascot is Rensselaer (N.Y.) Doane Stuart School. If you bet that the name came from a student vote off, well, you're right. Perhaps most importantly, the mascot proves that Doane Stuart students have a phenomenal sense of humor.

The Utica (N.Y.) Notre Dame High Jugglers are not named for athletes who compete while keeping multiple balls in the air. Nor is it a nod to the student body's ability to multi-task. Rather, the Jugglers nickname was borne of a French medieval story called "Le Jongleur de Notre Dame." Really, that's the story.

It's not just enough that Warrensburg (N.Y.) High plays as the Burghermeisters. The truth is that the backstory is even more entertaining than the name itself. The school took on a mascot meaning the ruler of a German town after its initial mascot -- the Burgers -- was deemed to be rather unintimidating. Funny thing about dressing up the hamburglar outside McDonald's property and making him seem like a threat.

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